Friday, July 8, 2011

One Day by David Nicholls

So I was in Borders TCM and a book called to me again. I read the first chapter there and went home and downloaded it onto my Kindle. Bless my Kindle.

One Day is a very unique novel because each chapter tells the story of only one day of a year. Basically, the novel visits the lives of Emma and Dexter every 15 July starting on the year they first met, 1988, and spans twenty years. They are sometimes together, sometimes not, in each chapter.

It's a life story, not really a love story, and that's the greatest part about this book. Em and Dex, Dex and Em, they're best friends, which is pretty hard to believe, because they're so incredibly different. When they spend graduation night together in 1988, Emma's got double first-class honours and dreams of changing the world, and Dexter's a wealthy charmer who want to smoke as many cigarettes and dance in as many bars as he can.

As we follow their life stories, we see these two evolve from university graduates to young working people, from young working people to family people, and these transitions are not the typical story-bookish kinds - Nicholls isn't one to shy away from the darker side of life, the harshness of reality, the bitterness of disillusionment. Unemployment, unglamourous jobs, peer pressure, loss of friendship, loss of family, the ending of dreams, and broken love - it's all there. It's a bit painful, really, not usually my sort of book, especially towards the second half and ending, but I like it all the same - partially because I feel like I can relate a lot to Emma, and wholly because the murky adult life is still a bit of a mystery to me.

Also, this book is very British, which adds a few couple thousand plus points to it. Thanks to this book, I now want to go to Scotland not only to fulfill my lifelong dream of getting married in a castle (clearly this book hasn't been that much of a wake-up call for me), but also to visit Arthur's Seat. Fifteenth July is known as St. Swithin's Day, by the way - I didn't know that! Another couple thousand bonus points to the book for highlighting this poem.

St Swithun's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St Swithun's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain nae mare

Now as you can see, I've put the movie cover of the book up as a picture because this is one of those rare instances where the movie cover is much better than the original cover of the book. Yes, it's be made into a movie; it should be out August, and I can't wait, although it probably won't even reach Malaysian shores. I've seen the trailer (which I recommend you not to watch if you dislike spoilers.)

It stars Anne Hathaway (I love Anne Hathaway!) but I'm feeling a bit apprehensive. I think she's a bit too pretty to be Emma Morley. Also, I've heard Anne's British accent in Becoming Jane, which was borderline atrocious. Emma's supposed to be Scottish! I agree with some of the people online who think Carrey Mulligan would've been a better choice. Or maybe not, because remember Emma is a character who ages twenty years throughout the movie, and that's not easy to carry off. Jim Sturgess (whoever he is) seems a bit too soft to be Dexter, as well, but that's only what I can tell from the trailer. Still, I do have high expectations for this movie!

Read the book, if only once through, and hurry - do it before the movie comes out.

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